Public Works Garage Funding Decision Needed In April

The Jamestown Public Works garage on Washington Street is pictured. P-J photo by John Whittaker

City officials will have until the April voting session to approve additional funding for the city’s new Public Works garage.

Council members were briefed on the additional funding for the bond anticipation note by Ericka Thomas, city comptroller, during Monday’s work session. The city’s 2023 $4,608,000 bond anticipation note included $2,850,000 for the Public Works garage. As the project nears its end construction costs have grown to $5,740,000, with $3 million to have been paid with an eventual serial bond and $2 million from the city budget. The $2 million in city funding includes $1 million the city is supposed to receive from the state through the state’s Financial Restructuring Board.

Thomas said the city wants to add $1.7 million to the bond anticipation note to pay remaining construction costs, though that amount could grow to $2.7 million depending on when the city receives the Financial Restructuring Board money from the state.

“The reason we brought it to you is because it’s of big significance. You needed to absorb it,” said Mayor Kim Ecklund.

Current expenses for the Washington Street garage are $4,809,000 before anything has been paid this year. The city is due to receive $1 million from the state Fiscal Restructuring Board toward the project, leaving about $1.7 million in additional funding that will have to be covered eventually with a serial bond.

Ericka Thomas, Jamestown comptroller, talks to City Council members about the city’s increased bond anticipation note.

The 2023 bond anticipation note included about $1.7 million for work on city facilities and parking garages in addition to the Public Works garage. Those additional projects haven’t begun yet and likely will be revisited in 2025, according to Thomas’ staff memo to the council.

The total bond anticipation note, if council approves it in April, will be $6.3 million to account for the additional city projects and increases to the Pubic Works garage project.

There is no indication yet what principal and interest payments will be because the bond anticipation note hasn’t been finalized yet. City officials may be able to take out the bond for the garage building with little impact to the city budget because one existing bond is expected to be paid off this year and another is expected to be paid off next year.

“It’s a little early in the process to know how much it’s going to cost, what’s the principal payment that we have to make, what’s the interest amount,” Thomas said. “I can tell you that last year the interest rate was 4.5%. We had to make a principal payment of $10,000 and an interest payment of (about) $80,000. That all happened at the same time that we did all this. I have to get the BAN one day and then turn around and pay the BAN the next day.”

Mark Roetzer, interim public works director, was asked about ways to reduce the remaining cost of the project, including things like reusing equipment from the Harrison Street Public Works garage in the new Washington Street building. Roetzer said the city is reusing as much equipment as possible, but had made the decision early on to add an additional vehicle lift for the facility. That lift is one of the more expensive items on the overage list. Roetzer said the city is expected to take ownership of the building later this month and begin moving some things into the building shortly after. Heavy equipment will be moved during the summer, he said.

Jeff Russell, R-At Large, asked about the origins of the project. Initial proposals under former Mayor Sam Teresi were to build a new Public Works Garage on Crescent Street for a cost of about $4 million. Building on the Washington Street site that formerly housed Hartley Buick, Ecklund said, was projected to cost $2.1 million: $400,000 to buy the land and $1.7 million to add on to the building.

“The site at Crescent Street was $4 million,” Ecklund said “The new site was estimated at $2.1 (million). It was supposed to be a savings over Crescent Street, the initial plan that we had going back to 2019 and 2020. Where we are at now is not there.”


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